Statement on Supreme Court decision on equal rights

Dear Campus Community,

We are dismayed to see the U.S. Supreme Court chipping away at the legal protections and freedoms of same-sex couples and people in additional protected classes. In 303 Creative v. Elenis, the court ruled in favor of a designer who did not want to create wedding websites for gay couples, citing her religious beliefs.

This opinion undermines state public-accommodation laws, which require businesses to offer equal access to everyone, regardless of protected characteristics including sexual orientation. With the court’s decision, such laws are now enforceable only to the extent they do not violate the First Amendment rights of individuals. Requiring business owners to create and publish messages concerning same-sex marriage, if the business owner disagrees with it, is such a violation.

We continue to live in an era of othering, with some individuals not treated with the same respect and protection as others, depending on who they love. This decision, arriving at the conclusion of Pride Month, is all that more painful and continues to show that institutionalized discrimination continues to be sanctioned in the U.S. As individuals, as allies and as a community committed to social justice, we cannot become complacent as members of our own community must endure discrimination. Significant actions are being taken across the country to oppress LGBTQIA people, some going as far as to attempt to erase LGBTQIA history and existence. When a community’s existence and rights must be justified and re-justified by the court, its members are not equal. Their rights will always be in question, they will face continued discrimination, and they will live with the threat that their rights can be taken away. When that is the case, equal rights do not exist. We remain in solidarity with all members of our community who continue to have to fight to secure the rights, freedoms, and the sense of belonging that many of us all take for granted.

We encourage those in need to reach out for support. Counseling and Psychological Services provides assistance for students. Our Employee Assistance Program offers counseling and support to employees. The Lionel Cantú Queer Center is another place where our campus community can find support and resources. Equality California is another resource.

We will continue to work hard to make our campus community a place of belonging and inclusion while continuing to push for true equal rights in our broader society.

Cynthia Larive

Lori Kletzer
Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor